It's late evening, and I am alone in the quiet house with my sleeping children. It's the perfect time to call my father, and I stretch out my arm towards the phone. And then, I remember. My father has just passed away.

In the final days of my father's life, all his organs were shutting down. "What kept him going for another full week, all through the Passover holiday, despite the agonizing pain and the certainty of death?" my aunt wondered at his funeral. "Was it love, since he knew that we all loved him?"

"It was love," I agreed. "But it wasn't our love. It was his. He hadn't finished loving us, and that extra bit of love he still had left to give us kept him going."

I have lost someone who loved me"You are right," she said. "I am glad he is not suffering anymore, but I have lost someone who truly loved me, who truly knew how to love, and to love generously, without strings attached."

I have lost someone who loved me. The thought takes my breath away. I watch the dirt fall onto the plain wooden coffin, and I know that my father's body is in that box, but my father, somehow, is not.

My father left this world after many years of intense suffering, the last six of which he was confined to a wheelchair. Yet even in his final months, he continued to reach out to people, and helped them to believe in their own worth and merit. As my brother and I sorted through my father's possessions, an aide from his nursing home came by and asked for a picture of our father as a keepsake. "He was encouraging me to go to college," the aide told us. "He told me not to worry, that we would do it together."

How many times did my father take me to the university library? In the quiet, hushed stillness of the library, my father and I sat for hours, traveling through the infinite possibilities of words. He taught me to read for both pleasure and wisdom. There was always a book. There were always words. It is impossible to believe he has left the world of words.

I could tell you that my father loved fall weather, tweed jackets, and the crunch of colorful leaves underfoot. I could tell you that he loved Shakespeare and T.S. Elliot, and rarely went anywhere without a book under his arm. But to me, these personality quirks do not truly represent my father.

Because there was nothing he loved that rivaled his love for us – my brother and myself. Being a father, being our father, was everything to him.

Every one of us embodies a particular aspect of G‑d which we personify in our words and our deeds, and the unique way we live our lives. My father personified the aspect of G‑d that is referred to as "Ahavah Rabbah" – a boundless love. This phrase teaches us that G‑d Himself does not love as we love, with a fluctuating intensity determined by our feelings and the ability of others to make us feel good about ourselves. Rather, G‑d loves us with an extra measure of love, which allows Him to keep loving us despite our sins and our tendency to deprive Him of the appreciation that is His due.

His love was not a passive feeling; it was an active forceWe grew up. We left home. My brother went to Paris to study painting, and I went to Jerusalem to study Torah. And still, my father's love reached out to us across the world, binding us tightly to him with words and ideas. It didn't matter that our choices had taken us far from home. All he needed was a letter from us that he could hold in his hand, a letter that he could fold up and tuck away safely in his breast pocket, a letter that he could read in the quiet, lonely hours when he missed us and couldn't sleep.

When I remember my father, it is his ability to love that I remember. His love was not a passive feeling; it was an active force. And if I can reach out to others more lovingly and less judgmentally, if I can accept and embrace them with a warmth of spirit, if I can help them to connect to their own goodness, then I will be worthy of being called his daughter.